Body & Design

The Fujifilm X-E1 is quite close in design to the X-Pro1, with the omission of the optical finder and its associated mode switch being the most obvious differences. The top and front plates are made from magnesium alloy, and the top dials machined from metal, but a slight step-down in construction sees the back plate made from plastic. The buttons are too; but they're unusually large for a small camera, and positive in action.

The control philosophy is based around traditional analogue dials - the shutter speed and exposure compensation dials are on the top plate, and the aperture controlled by a ring on the lens. The back of the X-E1 is replete with buttons, offering lots of direct access, including the Q button that calls up a control screen from which you can change many of the camera's settings.

The Fujifilm X-series has always been unashamedly focused on still photography, with movies essentially an extra, and this philosophy continues with the X-E1. Most tellingly, there's no direct record button, something you'll find on all of its close competitors, and video recording is accessed as a drive mode (at which point, you can no longer shoot stills). Movie mode retains the same limitations as the X-Pro1, including the inability to control the shutter speed or ISO.

Top of camera

The X-E1's top plate looks much the same as the X-Pro1 and X100, with the shutter speed and aperture dial, power switch around the threaded shutter release button, and customizable 'Fn' button which controls ISO by default. But there are detail changes too - here you can see the cover for the pop-up flash, and small holes for the built-in stereo microphones for movie recording.

Design compared to X-Pro1

Existing X-Pro1 owners will be able to pick the X-E1 up and use it immediately, and swap between the two cameras with little fuss. This extends to the user interface and menus too.

From the front, the most obvious difference in design between the X-E1 and its big brother the X-Pro 1 is the loss of the optical viewfinder and its associated finder mode switch. The AF illuminator has moved closer to the handgrip, and the stereo microphones onto the top plate.
From the back the two cameras are very similar. The Playback button moves to the left side of the screen and there's a small flash release button beside the EVF, but otherwise the layout is the same. One noteworthy addition, though, is a diopter adjustment dial for the viewfinder, whose adjustments range from -4 to +2.
From the top you can see the X-E1's pop-up flash and stereo microphones. Look a little closer and the shutter speed dial has been simplified too, essentially borrowed from the X100; gone are the central lock switch and markings for 1/2 and 1 second, which are now accessed from the T position.

Optional accessories

The X-E1 gets a number of matched accessories to go with it. There's the BLC-XE1 half-leather case, with a hinged flap giving access to the memory card/battery compartment, and the HG-XE1 handgrip that bolts into the tripod socket (blocking access to the battery and card). It can also use a wired remote release (RR-80-W) that plugs in to the USB port, and there's a 2.5mm socket for an external stereo microphone (note, Mic depicted below is not a Fujifilm product).

Leather case BLC-XE1, ~$130 Handgrip HG-XE1, ~$150
 
X-E1 with accessory microphone